FTT- Post Due October 19 by 11:59 pm

We are now finished with Four Fish and it is time to reflect on your major take-aways. In at least a 250 word post, share with the class what you thought were the most eye-opening, interesting, or otherwise like-able parts of the book. In addition, discuss how the book influenced your view regarding the role of aquaculture and wild-capture fisheries as part of the solution for feeding the 7+ billion people on Earth.

37 thoughts on “FTT- Post Due October 19 by 11:59 pm”

  1. One of the greatest take-aways for me from Paul Greenberg’s book Four Fish, was that as humans we can have an enormous impact on fisheries and the ecosystems in which they live withing our own lifetimes. Learning about the loss of the Atlantic Salmon on the east coast was shocking. I had no idea that there was such a large population of salmon that disappeared in a relatively short period of time. I also had no idea that the Grand Banks Cod Fishery collapse occurred over the course of a half century. I find it curious that we are not taught about these events in the public school system. It seems that if folks heard these kinds of stories, they may consider their own actions and those of our policy makers more carefully. I was also surprised at the amount of innovation that has gone into aquaculture. Before reading four fish I was unfamiliar with the level of engineering that had to take place to rear fish other than salmon in an aquaculture environment. Greenberg’s easily readable book taught about the forementioned topics from his fun and easy to read personal experiences. This allowed me to connect with the information he was sharing. Greenberg was clear about when he was sharing his own thoughts or opinions, allowing his readers to easily differentiate between facts and opinions in his material. Regarding the role of aquaculture and wild-caught fisheries as a means for solving the global food equation, I feel that I gained a balanced approach from reading Greenberg’s book. It seems to me that aquaculture is a good resource for producing fish for the global population so long as Galton’s principles for animal husbandry are met. If we rear semi-herbivorous fish that are fast growing, easy to spawn, and do not pollute natural ecosystems with their genes or waste, aquaculture is a reasonable way to protect wild stocks of fish from over-exploitation. If a culture is developed in which we carefully examine the long-term sustainability of our food, it seems that aquaculture could be a very reliable source of sustenance if we can obtain a feed to flesh ratio close to 1:1. Overall, I would describe my opinion of aquaculture as one that is hopeful it will be done with the appropriate goal of reducing pressure on wild stocks of fish and creating food sources that are low impact and sustainable.

    1. I agree Bryce. There are some definite guidelines we need to follow to ensure natural occuring ecosystems stay healthy but overall aqua culture is worth keeping around. The demand for the food source around the globe has a tremendous impact and in my eyes takes it out of the scrap pile and into the investment of green sustainability. Great read.

    2. I like that you combined both hope and realism. We have ideas that could work, but only if we do it properly. We do it wrong, it will have been a waste. Good job on this.

  2. The greatest takeaway from Four Fish is that how to many natives they have their own customs of feeding their own family.. To Greenburg, the way they were cutting the fish he believe they were wasting it but what Greenburg does not notice, is that they use every part of the fish. They use it for unfair trading but they don’t mind because it is something better for once other than the fish they always usually have. The most likable part I thought was the aquaculture for salmon and tuna and the various viewpoints many has on this topic.
    I do think using aquaculture would be good for short term, I don’t think it be good for the long term because using aquaculture can get very expensive and unless people donate their own time and money won’t be running for very long. I dont think it will be good for all species too.

    1. Interesting take aways Killie. I know aqua culture seems really hard on the environment and a bad choice to invest in. My concern is how many people rely on the food source. We would have to answer feeding the people that no longer have the fish if we cut the programs now.

    2. Its great that you brought up how important the fish are to the native communities. And i agree with you that aquaculture would be a good short term solution and not long term.

  3. My main takeaway from Four Fish is the importance of multiple viewpoints to an issue and an inspection of the history of a fish before attempting to manage it. A fish has more importance and history than just being a food animal, and the effects of the fish can be felt throughout multiple communities. Without this inspection, you can harm the many cultures that surround and rely on the fish. Any harm to a fish population can spider out and spiral out of control, damaging the humans that rely on it on top of the fish. Sometimes concessions need to be made to fisheries management to provide for the people that make a living and subsistence on fish.
    Also, as someone interested in the field of aquaculture, it gave me valuable insight into the beginnings of the biggest aquaculture practices and their results. It provides food for thought for a new and growing field and the effects and pitfalls of aquaculture that I might have to wrestle with in the future. It’s also nice to easily read about these beginnings in a well-written format with interviews from the people who started it all as opposed to less personal papers and the like.
    Greenberg put into a few chapters some very valuable insight into the four major species we eat, and his writing style was easily digestible and not too wordy or scientific. Overall a very fantastic read, and a very accessible one to even the general layman interested in the issues of our seafood in a modern age.

    1. I like what you said about fish having more value than just being food. I felt like that was evident in Peter’s lecture today when we were discussing coral reefs. He pointed out the reefs had intrinsic value by just existing. I completely agree with him and I also think many things have intrinsic value aside from their economic value that make them worth keeping and protecting. Thanks for the post!

    2. I like your thoughts on perspective. Yes, fish are food, but they aren’t just food. They have a history and processes and impacts on people and their habitat. So I agree that we need to be careful about how and when we extract fish.

    3. I like your point of fish having more value thane just food; Fish provide a way of life for many. And i like how you pointed out that concessions need to be made to fisheries management.
      Great post!

  4. Four Fish was an interesting and oddly familiar read. The human dynamic of Mr. Greenbergs personal experiences driving his view of the world and opinions on the fisheries themselves. As the story progresses and he focuses on the different fish in demand, the people he meets also play a role in shaping his opinions. From seeing the pros and cons to aquaculture as well as the conservation of the existing wild populations of fishes in their ecosystems. The distinction between right and wrong eventually get blurred as we way the over all need for fishing across the world. From providing jobs to food contributions to parts of the world that would otherwise have no other food source. The love hate relationship between regulation and accessibility are ever present as many demands are placed on the fisheries and on the different species as a whole. My view on aquaculture is that we have to manage the effect these resources have on the ecosystem they are currently housed in. The aquaculture farms are often sharing existing waters with the wild salmon for example. The overlap in territories spreads the chemicals and by products from our farming efforts. This mix is harmful to the ecosystem and is making the contamination an unsustainable process out of aquaculture. Aquaculture as a whole feeds an immense amount of people as well as eases some of the fishing demand that otherwise would deplete the target species. In all I feel we need to continue our aqua farming endeavors but investing in much cleaner processes of doing so. I know this is easier said than done. My initial idea is to introduce larger, isolated farms that are land locked in above ground pools. The infrastructure for these would have to be huge for the swimming fish but at the same time is necessary to keep the contamination out f the still natural populations of fish,.

  5. Something that I really took away from the book is how truly difficult it is to establish how a fishery should be. There’s always all these concerns and issues with conservation efforts and over-exploitation of fishing. It brings dread at some points of the reading, but it brings things to think about when he talks about native communities or reasons behind certain choices for commercial fish. It also talks about things such as aquaculture in what I believe to be an unbiased way; he didn’t really say it was our best bet on the future, nor did he mention it was an outright failure. He limits himself to explain his own experiences and points of view of other people he met. Before reading this I would’ve agreed that aquaculture would solve a lot of issues concerning the effects of human interaction, but it’s not really all that simple. Another thing I found interesting is how wildly different can the process of fish farming be, depending on the species, and how we ended up choosing one of the hardest ones based on ancient socioeconomic views that somehow survived through the ages. Aquaculture has its issues, but I think it would really help other communities that rely completely on wild fish, while for us it’s just a simple matter of choice. I still believe, however, that issues such as “world hunger” have not been based on limited resources for decades, but rather, political and economical interactions which impede people to be fed, since having all this farmed fish would only be a choice for those who can already afford food, while the hungry wouldn’t be able to afford it as much as they can’t afford anything else.

    1. I thought you had some really wise take-aways. I agree with you especially regarding the complexity of fishery management. It makes my head spin trying to think of all the variables that impact a fishery, or even more so thinking about how to approach estimating abundance. I also found a new undertanading of the considerations that should be made regarding aquaculture. I am hopeful that society will put pressure on policy makers to regualte aquaculture in a sustainable manner.

  6. I think that my biggest takeaway from this book is how we are losing the identity and appreciation of fish. We don’t appreciate the species for what it is, and what it provides for us. With Greenburg going and exploring communities and seeing how people, management, and big corporations handle and view the fish, and show us readers the traditional fishing practices and cultures and his views (ie. Salmon chapter with the cutting of fillets). It really showed that the relationship between fish and people is changing.
    I don’t think that aquaculture is a good long term solution. As we read in the sea bass chapter, with the sea bass being a far from ideal species for aquaculture, there must be other species that can compare. It is not fitting for all species ( and I don’t think that we will find a permanent solution that will fit all species.) Aquaculture is a good start but I think that is far from being an entirely sustainable solution.

  7. The biggest take-away from this book for me was the battle of what should be versus what must be. We should be able to sustain these wild populations entirely. We must feed over 7 billion people. We should be able to preserve natural habitats for these creatures. We must provide people with places to live. You get the idea. It is so easy to be idealistic about preservation until you actually try to enact it somewhere. There are people to feed, people to shelter, people who will ignore the laws you set . Idealism versus pragmatism. What should be is not what is. This also applies to aquaculture. We should be able to farm fish; after all, we farm plenty of other animals. But it just isn’t that simple or easy. Fish escape. Fish contract diseases and parasites. Not everybody wants to eat farmed fish, especially if they are genetically modified. The complications and problems keep stacking up in the real world, but it is our job to address these issues, or at least it will be. This struggle between the ideal and the real was also quite inspiring to me. In spite of all these challenges, past and present, look at how much we have accomplished. Sure, there is plenty of bad, but there is also good. Progress has been made. We have overcome many of these issues, and I think we will overcome more. There is, and always will be, some measure of hope.

  8. One of the biggest things that I learned from Four Fish was about AquaAdvantage and genetically modified salmon. I had absolutely no idea GM salmon was even a thing, and I don’t know a lot about genetic modifications in general. I opened up my eyes to both the pros and cons of GM salmon, and although I stand by my former opinion that wild meat is always better, I definitely learned a lot. It was also interesting to hear about village life from a different perspective–as someone who grew up in the village, I don’t even bat an eye at the value of salmon. It was interesting to hear both Greenberg’s and my classmate’s perspectives on how Native Alaskans use salmon and trade it for ‘valuable’ things. I will say that despite my holding true to my opinions on genetically modified salmon, there is undeniable value in raising salmon this way to feed the public. This book showed me the importance of keeping the wild salmon that we have now as food for Native peoples, and peoples of the land, and using farmed salmon to feed the wider population–people that might not be as familiar with fresh, wild meat anyways. It’s an option to explore, at least. I think the problem goes deeper than that, however, and we need to find other sustainable ways to feed our growing populations worldwide. Something that works in one place might not be the best solution in another place. Overall, Four Fish helped me see things from different perspectives, something that I think we all benefitted from. We don’t have to entirely agree on someone’s opinion to understand how it can be a solution–no one idea is perfect, and allowing yourself to read other people’s views with no bias is one of the most important things we can do.

    1. Hey Maya,

      I do agree that wild meat is better tasting and can be healthier but I am sure in time it will be possible to develop a fish using genetic modification that taste just as good and just as healthy as farm raised fish. Until then, I agree with you but I still would not personally turn down a farmed raised fish.

      1. Hey Logan, thanks for your reply. I’m curious if you’re from Alaska? The only reason I ask is that I feel like I can’t eat farm-raised fish simply because I’ve been living off Yukon River Kings and Copper River salmon my entire life, and I can definitely taste the difference.

    2. Hi Maya,
      I didn’t know about GM salmon either. This book really informed us about a lot of things that most of us probably did not know. I agree with keeping the wild salmon for the Natives & using the genetically modified salmon for others, just to keep things natural.

  9. In his book, Greenberg explores the push and pull of our desire to consume wild fish as well as the fear of consuming farmed fish. By following his four species, he examines our privilege in watching them reach farther and farther into the ocean, it also explores the ethics of consuming wild fish and the necessity of aquaculture. Meanwhile, Greenberg raises real-life ethical questions of the sort that haunt diners’ dreams, the kind that cannot be easily answered by looking at the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s fish.As he demonstrates, there are rarely good wild fish for any of us to eat, at least if we all eat them.

    1. Generally speaking, I believe aquaculture can reduce pressure on wild fish stocks and create sustainable, low impact sources of food if done with the right goals in mind.

    2. My view of aquaculture is that it should be practiced in a sustainable manner so as to reduce pressure on wild fish stocks as well as prepare food sources with low environmental impact.

      1. My computer crashed on Internet I saw I didn’t post my reply and I posted it again now that it’s back up and said I posted two reply’s sorry

  10. One of my takeaways from Four Fish is that if we don’t protect wild fish that a whole way of life will be gone forever. I also found it interesting that the natives in Alaska and the Department of Fish and Game work so closely together. I think that the salmon fishery in Alaska would benefit by working closely with the natives that know a lot more about salmon. I also think that GMOs could be beneficial but I think before it goes on the global market the long terms effects of eating them should be thoroughly researched.

    1. Hey Linnaea,

      I agree after reading this book and participating in discussions in the class, I no longer view GMOs as being all that bad. I see how an issue could arise if they were to escape and repopulate in the wild though but Im sure with practice and more research, things can be done to prevent detrimental affects to the environment from occurring

  11. Hello everyone,

    In the book, “Four Fish,” by Paul Greenberg, the most like able and interesting part for me was in the beginning of the novel when we talked about how all of fish in his favorite child hood pond had all disappeared. As I discussed in a previous post in regards to this topic, I experienced something much like this when I was younger. I use to fish this creek by my house all the time when I was younger and one day all of the fish started dying. I was really confused as to why so I traced the creek upstream to a lake that had a dangerous algae bloom which lead to the death of a large number of fish in that lake and apparently all of the fish downstream of it as well. This spiked an interest not only for me to learn about other fisheries so I could keep fishing but also how pollutant affect water ways and how they are eventually passed down stream with the potential of cascading affects.

    This novel also gave me a more positive view towards the potential of farm raised fish. If the selection of better suited species for farming is made, we will see more success in it. This will help protect wild populations of fish to ensure longevity of the ecosystem while keeping the people fed. Also if made with a good species selection, pollution will be minimized making fish farms overall better for the environment and sustainability.

  12. Reading Four Fish by Paul Greenberg, there were multiple parts that really struck / stayed with me. Overall, this book truly is something that resonates with the reader. I feel certain that I will one day return and read it again. There’s so much to appreciate from within Paul’s narrative, anecdotes, and life lessons that it’s likely that when I read it next, I’ll have completely new take away points. Personally, though, the beginning is what resonated with me the most, in retrospect. His retelling of that pond in his hometown, ‘his fish’, and the devastation that came with their disappearance, all of it. Not only is it a strong starter to a book that I found myself resonating with on a personal level, as it reminded me of my childhood days in Salcha, but the opening pages of him discussing that childhood tale also acts to ease the reader into the topics discussed in the book quite ingeniously.

    In terms of what I’ve learned from the book, I feel it has certainly opened my eyes to the climate of the industry of fisheries. Beforehand, I wasn’t very well informed on matters such as genetically modified specimens within aquaculture. Ultimately, I feel more assured after this read. I feel informed, less nihilistic, and open to what the future may lie ahead. The means of which these lessons were delivered in Greenberg’s writing is so utterly engaging. It’s been a long while since I have found myself enjoying a school-assigned reading such as this.

    1. Hi Elias, I totally agree with you that after reading the book, I feel less pessimistic about the state of our fisheries and what our future holds as far as seafood. I also agree that Greenberg included some chapters that made me think about my childhood, and it made me a lot more engaged that he talked about Emmonak, right next to my home village, because he was talking about things I already understood and places I’ve already been.

    2. Elias, I totally agree with you ! This book definitely is a book that will always stick with those who read it. I thought it was awesome how he hooked the audience by using his personal experience with “his” fish. I’m so glad that you enjoyed this read ! It was quite interesting.

  13. My biggest takeaway from Four Fish was how several types of fish have such an enormous impact on everyone. How salmon affect the Natives here in Alaska, how important the salmon runs are to fishermen. It is crazy how so many people depend on fish, for someone coming from a town where ranching and farming is important, it is comparable to how ranchers depend on their cattle. Everyone has their own thing they depend on, whether it be an animal or a resource. Without it, they do not know what to do and cannot feed their families or bring in money. It is also interesting to see that as humans, we do not realize how many things we impact. A lot of our “harmless” choices tend to be drastic problems that occur later. Another thing that I found interesting was learning more about how Natives do things, such as, cutting and drying their fish. To outsiders, it seems that they were wasting the fish, but to them they knew it would rot if the filet was too thick. Overall, Greenberg did an excellent job of sharing his firsthand experiences and informing others about diverse cultures and that a lot of things that seem like a clever idea and will not harm anyone, tend to do greater harm than they think. It is interesting to read about things that I will not experience but might remember to help form better decisions and choices overall.

  14. Having lived most of my life in Alaska and knowing the abundant natural resources It was a shock to hear and read about the abundance of natural resources the lower 48 had that was squandered by development and mismanagement. Four fish gave an perspective I never fully understood about the state of the world and why fish farming wasn’t outright abolished. The ingenuity that went into producing farmed fish is outright amazing. It has the potential to feed the world, but we must take care of the wild fisheries at all cost. The cod collapses were a wake up call to our abuse of the oceans. Nature can’t sustain us if we don’t take care of her. We need to look in the mirror and realize what we are, swallow our pride and pull our heads out of our butts and do better. Those who suffer the most from over fishing are the fish. The book has grievances and worries for the future, but it also gives me hope. Hope that wee can make a differences hope to set things right and see the return of historic fish population and get away from moving baseline.

    1. I agree that wild stocks should be valued higher than farmed fish and all the genetic tampering with that goes on with those fish. It’s something we might not be able to get back if it’s lost.

  15. I enjoyed reading Four Fish by Paul Greenberg. As a story, I thought it was really well written and kept you hooked the whole time you were reading it. For what it was about, I liked the perspective and how much thought was put into the book. I had known about fish farming and idea of genetically modified fish, but didn’t really suppose how important they were to people who might not have access to wild fish. But then also the balance in keeping farmed fish away from wild fish stocks, as risk of losing them. It was also new to me that sea bass can be a farmed fish species. I always just thought of salmon and growing up with a bumper sticker around Sitka that said, “Friends don’t let friends eat farmed fish, support Alaska’s wild fisheries”. Very appropriate for an Alaskan fishing town, and very applicable. I can see now that farmed fish are the answer to hunger problems for a lot of people. I think one of the biggest problems with farmed fish might be people’s separation from it and not knowing where their food comes from and what it effects.
    I think my biggest lesson from this book is how tough it is to manage all the aspects of the fishery world. Like when Greenberg had written that article about not eating fish and then chose to eat fish later. It’s really easy for people to say they’re going to do one thing, and then they do the opposite, or don’t mind the consequences.

  16. The book Four Fish was truly eye-opening in more ways than one. By interviewing so many people in nearly every one of the numerous facets of the fishing and aquaculture industry, he not only brought to light an industry that has bloomed and continues to grow mostly out of the public eye, but he also brought to light the seemingly endless opposing points of view on the topic of expanding aquaculture to replace ocean fish as our primary source of “seafood”. My main takeaway is that the emerging aquaculture industry is still in its infancy, and it seems that people are far from the point of reaching a consensus on the matter, but it has extraordinary potential if we can figure out a way to do it sustainably. For all of the flaws in the currently most common methods of aquaculture, and all of the risks it poses on wild species and ecosystems, I have hope that aquaculture in the future can be restructured in a way that makes it sustainable and perhaps even beneficial to the surrounding ecosystems. One of the most interesting things I learned from Four Fish was the methods of aquaculture that were used in ancient China – The multi-trophic system of aquaculture, in which the byproducts from one species is used as the input for another species. In a sense, creating a mini ecosystem which can be sustained with little environmental damage. This type of balanced aquaculture system, managed with a fundamental understanding of ecosystem dynamics and using those dynamics instead of working against them, allows me to believe that there is a hopeful future for aquaculture.

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